Artist Biography

Carla is a fiber artist influenced by a scientific career as a Marine Biologist. As a scientist, she studied cells and tissues of marine organisms and photographed the complexity and beauty of aquatic organisms with a scanning electron microscope. Several of Carla’s microscopic images have found their way into her fiber art.

Carla began working as a scientist for National Marine Fisheries Service in 1976. After finishing a Master’s degree in Fisheries in 1982, she enrolled in evening art classes and experimented with drawing, scientific illustration, colored pencil and watercolor. Her fabric addiction started in 1996 after making her first quilt for a newborn niece. The textural quality of stitch and fabric led to more experiments, and a sudden realization during a free motion quilting class that the sewing machine could be used to draw. Carla began using cloth and stitch to create art in the late 1990’s. She now frequently adds paint, dye, colored pencil and more.

In 2009, Carla began preparing a book containing the most artful and informative microscopic images that she and other scientists had photographed during 30 years of scientific research. The Seattle Aquarium liked these images so much they displayed Carla’s photographs in a Sea Unseen exhibit. At that same time, Carla began using her microscopic images as inspiration for her fiber art. The book, Sea Unseen: Scanning electron microscopy images from Puget Sound and beyond, was published by the US Government Printing office in 2012.

Carla retired from science in 2011 and continues to use stitching and surface design techniques to create fiber art based on amazing and often tiny patterns in nature. The beauty of marine life and her desire to learn more about creatures that are often out of sight, continues to inspire Carla’s art.